Congressman Bowman Explains "No" Vote on Infrastructure Bill
- Sunday, 14 November 2021 09:39
- Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November 2021 09:41
- Published: Sunday, 14 November 2021 09:39
- Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 911
After Scarsdale’s Congressman Jamaal Bowman voted NO on President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill on November 5, we received several inquiries from readers as to why he voted against the bill and how that served his constituents.
We made several inquiries to his staff and on Friday November 12 we received this response from Bowman’s Congressional Aide Jesse Lerer:
The Congressman supports the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, and he has worked with his colleagues and the White House to see to it that it happens. He is still going to fight to ensure that the full Biden agenda passes. Congressman Bowman knew that we had the votes to ensure that the bill passes, and also kept his word that he would only vote on the physical infrastructure bill if it came with the other part of the agenda that supports families, women, and children. This is why he and his colleagues were consistently clear for months that the Build Back Better Act and the physical infrastructure bill together must be voted on at the same time. This was the agreement and the promise he shared. He was asked to vote only on physical infrastructure at the last hour and to delay the needs and ignore the suffering of our constituents with the weakest assurance that the original agreement would be kept. To hold everyone accountable to passing the full agenda, he kept his word and voted no. He intends to keep fighting to ensure that the full agenda passes and working with the Democratic leadership.
The Congressman’s position has always been that passing only the Bipartisan package without the full Biden Agenda would jeopardize the fate of essential investments that our community desperately needs.
Congressman Bowman is unwilling to leave behind the parts of Biden’s agenda that will support our district, as well as women, children, and Black and brown communities across our country.
Both bills contain much-needed funding for physical infrastructure in our communities.
SEWER/WASTEWATER: For example, the Bipartisan bill includes $1.12 Billion for sewage overflow repairs, and Build Back Better actually includes $2.125 billion to invest in sewer overflow and stormwater reuse municipal grants
CLEAN DRINKING WATER: Everyone should have clean drinking water, but we know many communities have lead-contaminated drinking water. The Bipartisan bill included almost $15 billion to address drinking water, but this amount is for loans, not direct funding. Our district was one of the hardest hit by COVID and we are still recovering from its economic impact. Making local governments take out even more loans to provide clean drinking water is better than nothing at all, but the Congressman understands the importance of direct grant funding. That’s why he’s fighting so hard to protect Biden’s Build Back Better Act which includes $9 billion in direct grant funding to address clean drinking water and further - there is no cost-share requirement so states and local governments wouldn’t have to contribute any funding to benefit from this, if the Build Back Better Act passes the House and Senate without even more cuts.
FLOODING/AFFORDABLE FLOOD INSURANCE: The Bipartisan bill includes $3.5 billion for National Flood Insurance, which the Congressman supports, however while speaking with constituents whose homes were destroyed by Ida just a few months ago, he knows many people in our district cannot afford the costly premiums of National Flood Insurance. That’s why he’s fighting to protect the Build Back Better Act, which actually includes $600 million to help people afford flood insurance with discounted coverage.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure bill that Congressman Bowman voted against does NOT include any provisions related to SALT [State and Local Taxes]. The Build Back Better Act, which the House was supposed to vote on last week until conservative Democrats refused to support it, could reform SALT to the benefit of homeowners in our district, and Congressman Bowman is supportive of this, which is why he’s fighting so hard to protect the bill and make sure no further cuts get made. The Bipartisan infrastructure bill that Congress passed will add $256 billion to our deficit. Biden’s Build Back Better Act would not add to the deficit at all. In fact, it would reduce our deficit over time.
Congressman Bowman knew that this bill would pass when he put forth his NO vote. He would never oppose job creation. He wanted to show that the bipartisan bill largely builds back better in job creation for men. Women have been hardest hit in the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we cannot leave them behind. Many women are forced to give up jobs without affordable child care options. The Bipartisan bill includes $550 million for the Minority Business Development Agency, which is a step in the right direction. Biden’s Build Back Better Act would nearly triple that investment and go further in assisting the formation and growth of minority business enterprises. It would include funding for Minority Serving Institutions, nonprofits that serve minority businesses, and create funding to establish 5 regional offices across the country to better and more directly assist minority business owners. On top of funding for the Minority Business Development Agency, Biden’s Build Back Better Act would invest more than $5 billion for Economic Development Assistance Grants to accelerate economic recovery in our communities. The Bipartisan bill Congress passed doesn’t include any funding for this. The Congressman is determined to protect Build Back Better so our communities can get out of the red and be back on track for strong, sustained growth.